Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hawks 91 Bulls 81


Hoopdata Boxscore



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
CHI 84.8
43.4 19.7
23.1 16.5
ATL 84.8 1.073 48.9

Josh Smith and Al Horford were the key in the fourth quarter. Their work on the offensive glass (62.5 OR% in the fourth quarter), the defensive glass (90.9 DR% in the fourth) the degree to which the protected the basket (Chicago were 2-6 at the rim) and the lane (Chicago had only one more field goal attempts in the lane in the fourth. It was missed.) thus leaving the Bulls to take the bulk of their fourth quarter shots from the perimeter (They made 3 of 8.) made the fourth quarter points that Jamal Crawford (8) and Joe Johnson (6) scored secure, rather than make, the result.

Smith and Horford were the key, but it was a team effort. Mike Woodson correctly identified a stagnant half-court offense as the cause for Atlanta's 14 point third quarter and successfully got both the players and the ball moving in the fourth quarter. It wasn't an unmitigated success. The Hawks rook 11 jump shots in the final quarter, making just three, but by converting six of seven field goal attempts in the lane, and taking advantage of the aforementioned offensive rebounds they prolonged enough of their 18 offensive possessions to score 27 points on them.

The Hawks accomplished all this without using one of their best, most active players in the final quarter. Marvin Williams got his 11 points and 8 rebounds in the first 33 minutes of the game. At the end of the third quarter, just after Mike Bibby's give-away in the backcourt which led to a Tyrus Thomas layup which gave Chicago a six-point lead, Williams was +1 for the game. Woodson stayed with Bibby for the entirety of the fourth quarter. For his faith and loyalty in the veteran point guard, the coach received three assists, two defensive rebounds, one made three-pointer in four field goal attempts, and opportunity to appreciate how good his young post players are defensively.

Williams' exclusion from the fourth quarter didn't hurt the Hawks* and Vinny Del Negro deserves credit from helping make that so. He went with a small lineup (either Taj Gibson or Brad Miller at center, with Luol Deng at power forward) for the first 7:10 of the fourth quarter as a six-point Chicago lead became at eight-point deficit. The small lineup got killed on the glass, forced John Salmons (rather than Deng) to guard Joe Johnson (a task for which Salmons proved thoroughly incapable), and created no effective mis-matches offensively. Chicago spent more than one fourth quarter possession on getting the ball to Salmons in the post against Jamal Crawford only to watch Salmons make absolutely no move before passing the ball out of the post late, leaving his teammates eight or fewer seconds to find a shot amongst themselves.

Or, as Vinny himself said after the game:
"They [made offensive rebounds], they made the plays when they had to, and we weren't able to put any pressure on them offensively."
*This is not a complaint about usage so much as disappointment in not seeing productive, aggressive play rewarded with more playing time. Woodson has a hierarchy for the players and it's not going to change in the short-term. This is why Mario West can be inserted to guard Derrick Rose for an end of quarter possession but Jeff Tegaue would, for now, never be a candidate for use against a quick point guard that troubled the Hawks.

I don't know if Smith's triple-double is more or less impressive because he wasted three possessions on attempting jump shots. I do know it's more impressive that half his assists were on three-point baskets and at least on other led to an and-1.

I also know it's most impressive that Josh Smith earned a free dinner at Eno as a reward.

Zaza Pachulia:
"I'm really happy for him. It's not easy to achieve. Not everyone can do it."
Mike Woodson:
"Josh Smith has probably been our MVP. I just wish he would've made that All-Star team because he has played like an All-Star this year for us."
Joe Johnson addresses the big picture following back-to-back late comebacks at home against the Cliipers and Bulls:
"I think throughout the game, we kind of mosey along, knowing that we've still got a chance to win the game. Sooner or later, it may come back to haunt us, but we've got to try to get it together before we get in the postseason."
The same issue broached at Peachtree Hoops:
I wish Woody had a rotation with the bench that resembled the first half more. Where the second unit starts coming in during the third and starts the fourth. It could cut down on starters minutes and give the first unit a mind set that they can go full bore for those first 8 minutes knowing they are getting a rest before a final push.


rbubp said...

As we continue to watch Woody's evolution as a coach, it would seem that bench rotations are really the last big hurdle he has to clear. The team is showing strains from its misuse. I hope he figures it out soon; there's plenty of time to get some distance on Orlando and especially Boston in the standings.

JMar said...

Another hurdle Woody has to clear: his complete inability to take advantage of matchups. I was at this game, and every possession, Marvin Williams was being guarded by Kirk Hinrich. 6-3, 190 covering 6-9, 240. Not ONCE did they feed Marvin. I find it hard to believe that Marvin is so lacking in post or power moves that he could not have been more productive against Hinrich than Jamal Crawford was taking long contested jumpers.

Also, Pants on the Ground guy was there. I haven't seen the crowd that charged up since the Hawks-Heat playoff series.